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A new lease to land management

Bangladesh government is to launch the ‘Matir Maya’ programme, founded by assistant commissioner (land) of Paba upazila in Rajshahi, across the country. ‘Matir Maya’ was introduced in Rajshahi’s Paba upazila aiming to provide land-related service in a quick and easy manner. The people in Paba now can avail services related to land issues by simply using a mobile app.

It all started three years ago. Land offices in Bangladesh are teeming with agents or middlemen. They swarm around anyone arriving at the land office. The people are virtually forced to pay these middlemen even before they can enter the AC (land) office. And repeated visits to the land offices are a hassle, sometimes taking years to find a record or a land deed.
Then one fine day, the assistant commissioner (land) of the Paba land office at the time, Shahdat Hossain, took a bold step, a unique initiative. He set up a booth beside the main office building, exactly where the agents use to gather.
Shahdat Hossain himself sat in that place. He called people waiting for service one by one by their names and solves their minor problems immediately. In case of complex issue, he forwarded the file to concerned officer with specific delivery dates.
Before this, Shahdat Hossain had drawn up a list of documents so that any record number could be found within a minute.
A certain freedom fighter had been visiting the land office for a year but his problems were not addressed. He cried in joy when he received service immediately after Shahdat Hossains initiative.
A teacher of Rajshahi university has given positive feedback in the comment book after getting instant service for many complex issues.
Prothom Alo published a special report about the Matir Maya programme on 17 October 2015. It was a wake-up call for the administration.
The cabinet division has issued letters along with a copy of the Prothom Alo report to all assistant commissioners (land), district commissioners and divisional commissioners across the country.
The letter suggested that arrangements be made to provide services at all the land offices like Paba upazila land office. The cabinet division also gave a deadline for the purpose.
Matir Maya founder Shahadat Hossain is currently serving as senior assistant secretary in the health ministry.
As many as a hundred assistant commissioner (land) offices in the country are now running the service Matir Maya, Shahdat told Prothom Alo.
Shahadats successor in Paba upazila land office, Nurul Hai Mohammad Anas, the current assistant commissioner (land), initiated a mobile application to provide eight types of services to the clients. Their slogan is AC land in peoples pocket. The people can pay land development tax through this app.
Shahdat Hossain told Prothom Alo on 3 November, “Matir Maya is the outcome of everyones hard work. The divisional commissioner Helaluddin Ahmad at the time was also an inspiration. The new generation of our officers is doing a great job. I dream one day the land management system in our country will be much more people-friendly with the efforts of the young generation.”

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